“And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: and he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth” (Rev. 10:1-2).
We know that in the symbolism of the book of Revelation this “mighty angel” is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ, because of the marks that are given. Some would make this the many-membered corporate Christ, but by the identifying characteristics it is clear that this is the glorious Head of the body, the in dwelling spirit of Christ, the One who indeed fills the whole Christ body, yet remains the Head of all. He is clothed with a cloud and the rainbow is upon His head, just where it was when we saw Him before in this book. The only two places where we see it is here and in chapter four. He is clothed with a singular cloud, denoting the firstborn Son of God; for when Christ comes in all His saints it is stated that “He cometh with clouds” — plural — the many clouds of glory! Now, in the tenth chapter His face is like the sun, just as it was in the holy mount of Hermon, in the transfiguration. His feet are as pillars of fire, just as John saw them in chapter one. The fire is under His feet now, for His work of purifying judgment in the elect members of His body is complete, and the hour has arrived for the fullness of life, glory, and power to be imparted to the many sons brought to glory. He has a scroll in His hand, opened. Who opened it? He did, the Lamb did, over there in chapter five!
Elsewhere in the Revelation Christ is spoken of as a lion, a lamb, a root, an offspring, a witness, a star, and now He is presented as an angel or a messenger. There are seven angels of the seven churches, four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, the angel ascending from the east, that is, the Sun of Righteousness arising, and the seven angels which blow the seven trumpets. In chapter eight we saw “another angel” which came and stood at the golden altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto Him much incense, that He should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. It should be clear to every spiritual mind that this is Christ our High Priest ministering in the sanctuary in the heavens of the Spirit of the Lord! There He appears in His priestly dignity. Now this angel, in chapter ten, is spoken of as “another mighty angel,” and here we behold Him in His royal dignity!
I would point out that in Greek grammar, when the word “another” is used with a noun before it, it is very significant. It signifies literally, “another who is the same,” and throughout the book of Revelation we find this word descriptive of our Lord. Remember, Jesus told His disciples that when He went away He would send them “another Comforter.” There we have the same grammatical structure in the Greek, indicating “another who is the same.” The Lord made it clear that this “another Comforter” was truly Himself in another form! “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you (as Jesus Christ in the flesh), and shall be in you (as Jesus Christ in the Spirit).” And then He adds with unmistakable clarity, “I will not leave you comfortless: I WILL COME UNTO YOU” (Jn. 14:16-18). Can we not see by this that the Comforter, or the Spirit of truth, was not another or different person, but another manifestation or form of the very same Christ who said, “I am the Truth,” standing there before His disciples! He was “another Comforter,” oh yes, ANOTHER WHO IS THE SAME!
This was not just another literal angel that came down from heaven, for here He is referred to as a “mighty” or “strong” messenger. The angel is “mighty,” not because other angels are weak, but because of his superiority beyond the ordinary rank of angels. This “angel” is the bearer of a commission which no ordinary angel is qualified to convey. He “comes down from heaven” in the sight of John, and this denotes the character of his mission — in an aspect of authority and power which can in no way be disputed or opposed. This descent of the “angel” to the realm of the earthy indicates that here is One whose word and work must surely prevail! Let there be no doubt in the mind of any reader of these lines that this glorious One is none other than our Lord Jesus, the Christ! Our Lord Jesus is truly mighty because fullness of authority and power resides in Him, because He is valiant, because He has been in battle and has won, He has prevailed and won the conquest, He has overcome sin, death, hell, and the grave, and because He overcame in both death and resurrection He was therefore qualified to open the seven-sealed book and bring forth the revelation of His victory and glory in a many-membered body of sons of God.
An angel is a messenger, and the messenger stands for the message. The angels in the book of Revelation are wonderful symbols representing the living word of God communicated by the spirit of revelation! The spirit of Jesus Christ is the living word of God! In the beginning of the book an “angel” came and began to show these things unto John — that is, a powerful word of the Lord came to John out of the heavenly realm of the Spirit, speaking mysteries to his heart and passing before his spiritual eyes visions of wonders to come. The proof of this is found in John’s own statement as to how the revelation was received. “He (Jesus) sent and signified it unto His servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all that he saw”(Rev. 1:1-2). Thus, this mighty angel or messenger is a great and powerful WORD OF THE LORD with awesome authority over both our body and soul realms (sea and earth). Truly, IT IS THE LORD!
The “spirit of might” is one of the seven spirits of God resting upon the sons of God. Isaiah revealed this deep mystery when he penned these blessed words: “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of His roots: and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord” (Isa. 11:1-2). The seven spirits of God rested first upon the Head of the many-membered body of Christ, and it is from Him that all the sons of God receive this anointing (I John 2:27). The Spirit of Might which belongs to the sons of God is the Spirit of Jesus, for He upon whom the sevenfold Spirit first rested is called THE MIGHTY GOD (Isa. 9:6). It is only “in Him” that one can become mighty! There is a glorious company of people, who along with Jesus the Mighty God, is termed “the Mighty.” Asaph, the song and praise leader of Israel, prophesied of this company, saying, “God standeth in the CONGREGATION OF THE MIGHTY; He judgeth among the gods. I have said, YE ARE GODS; and all of you are THE CHILDREN OF THE MOST HIGH” (Ps. 82:1,6). This company of “the Mighty” in whose midst God stands is none else but those who are “in Christ” who is “the Mighty God” and are thus “strong in the Lord” and “in the power of HIS MIGHT.” And the word of the Lord through Asaph declared plainly that “the Mighty” are, every one of them, the sons of the most High, truly, the manifest sons of God. Aren’t you glad!
One commentator objected to the idea that the “mighty angel” is the Lord Jesus, pointing out that this angel “…lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by Him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer” (Rev. 10:5-6). This commentator contended that it was an impossibility for the mighty angel to be Christ, because he would then sware by Himself — for Christ Himself is the Creator of all things! He would never be guilty, says he, of swearing by the One who made the heavens and the earth and the sea when that One was Himself! That indeed sounds like a plausible argument; however, we must bear in mind that the Lord Jesus Christ has two sides to His nature — He is both the “mighty God, the everlasting Father” and the “Son of man.”
When the apostles preached about Jesus they proclaimed that He was a man. “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God among you by miracles…” (Acts 2:22). When Jesus was speaking of Himself He declared that He was a man. To the Jews who had murder in their hearts Jesus said, “But now ye seek to kill me, a Man that hath told you the truth” (Jn. 8:40). Few will dispute the testimony of both Jesus and the apostles that Jesus Christ came into this world as a man. Even those who refuse to believe that He was God’s Son will admit that there was a man named Jesus who lived on earth two thousand years ago. There can be no doubt at all about the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the Bible teaches it too plainly.
The great truth that the Holy Spirit would now make real in our hearts is the fact that it was not only while Jesus was here on earth in a physical form that He was declared to be a man, but after His resurrection, ascension, and enthronement in the heavenly realm He still retains His identity as a Man! Hear the testimony of scripture. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5). “And they truly were many priests (under the law), because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: but this Man (Jesus), because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore He is also able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:23-25). “For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this Man have somewhat also to offer. For if He were on earth, He should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law…but now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry…He is the mediator of a better covenant” (Heb. 8:3-4,6). “The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second Man is the Lord from heaven” (I Cor. 15:47). Oh, yes! There is a Man in the heavens! And we who have been called and chosen are now being raised up asone new Man to sit with Him upon His throne!
A dear brother has explained it this way: The apostle Paul wrote about the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus and employs this language, “Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (I Cor. 2:8). Paul, whom did you say they crucified? “…the Lord of glory.” That is different from Pontius Pilate. Pilate said, “…behold the man!” (Jn. 19:5). Now, as far as Pilate was concerned he was committing to be crucified, a man. A good man, yes, the best man he had ever met, but a man for all that. So, there can be no doubt about the humanity of the One delivered into the hands of Pilate to die. But, Paul still maintains that this Man was the Lord of glory! Now just who is the Lord of glory? The Psalmist said, “Who is the King of glory? The Lord (Yahweh) strong and mighty, the Lord (Yahweh) mighty in battle” (Ps. 24:8). Here is an incredible and profound thought, friend. The Man who was put to death in weakness was Yahweh strong and mighty! “GREAT IS THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS — GOD WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH…BELIEVED ON IN THE WORLD, RECEIVED UP INTO GLORY” (I Tim. 3:16). You must not ask me to explain how that Person hanging on a central cross, writhing in death agonies, happened to be the Lord of glory and the Lord of life. I cannot explain it, friends — but I want to tell you that I believe it with all my heart. It is a mystery, a blessed mystery, a thrilling mystery — God manifest in the flesh!
A dear Trinitarian brother came to me one day and said, “Brother Magee, I think that is a great embarrassment to you Oneness people — that Jesus prayed.” I said, “You are wrong. But I want to tell you something: it is a great embarrassment to you.” He asked, “How would it be an embarrassment to me? I have never viewed it as such.” I replied, “What happened that night in the garden when Jesus prayed?” “Oh,” he answered, “it is simple. If you believe in the Trinity, it is easy.” I asked him to make it easy for me. “Well,” he said, “here is the Second Person praying to the First Person. It is as simple as that.” I said, “Just a moment, please! Was the Second Person God?” “Yes, certainly, the Second Person was God,” he assured me. “And was the First Person God?” Again he assured me that the answer was in the affirmative. Then I asked, “God prays to God?” “Yes,” was the firm reply.
I said, “Sir, if you pardon me for saying it, that exposition of yours, to my mind, is confusion twice confounded. Would you explain to me, please, how a Divine Person could pray IN HIS DIVINITY without undeifying Himself? If you ever hear someone praying, you know they need help, and God most assuredly does not need help! A Divine Person does not need help; only men need help. The Trinitarian explanation of John 17 — that we find one Divine Person praying to another Divine Person — is an absurdity. What we see in John 17 is humanity praying to Divinity!” The brother asked, “Then did not He pray to Himself?” “No! He did not pray to Himself!” “What did He do?” I replied, “In His human nature He prayed to His Divine nature.” “Well,” he said, “that is praying to Himself!” “Jesus was God and man! If Jesus had a dual nature why should we think it incredible that He should perform a dual role? Why should we think it strange for His human nature to call out to His Divine nature? You know that there is a wrong way of saying the right thing. I would say that Jesus was God, but I would not say that God died, you could not bring me to say that God died; for obvious reasons, God cannot die. But, friend, I do not hesitate to say that He who died was God. I simply do not hesitate to say it. It is simply the right way of saying the right thing. (End quote).
It is time to consider with prayer and meditation the things we have just read, for, if the humanity of Jesus can pray to the divinity of the Father dwelling in Him, then with all certainty the “man Christ Jesus” may, in the symbolism of the book of Revelation, lift up His hand to heaven (the realm of the Spirit) and swear by Him (the eternal Spirit) who liveth for ever, who created the heaven, and the earth, and the sea! Can you not see the mystery?
CLOTHED WITH A CLOUD
“And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud” (Rev. 10:1).
From the dawn of history the way in which God has displayed His glory has been in the form of a cloud. The glory cloud of God’s presence has taken different shapes and different sizes on various occasions. When it was time for the children of Israel to begin their exodus out of Egypt, the glory of God took the form of a pillar of fire enshrouded within a cloud. “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them in the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light, to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people” (Ex. 13:21-22).
What did the glory of God signify every time it appeared? The glory cloud of God signified the unique presence of God! It always told the people of Israel, when it appeared, that Yahweh was uniquely present in this place, at this time, for a special purpose. When the glory of God as a cloud led the children of Israel out of Egypt, it signified to the people that God was with them in a very real and sovereign way. “And the Lord went before them in a pillar of a cloud.” God was in the cloud! The almighty God Himself dwelt in that cloud by day and in the fiery pillar by night. That strange pillar of cloud and fire was the visible manifestation of His glory and presence! While Israel walked in the light of His fiery presence, no calamity could harm them, no enemy could attack them, no evil could befall them, nor plague come nigh their dwelling. God was with them in sovereign power in all their marches! “And the Lord said unto Moses, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe for ever” (Ex. 19:9). And again, “And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the veil before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat” (Lev. 16:2).
When the cloud came down out of heaven and rested on the top of mount Sinai, it signified that God in a unique sense had come out of the realm of invisible spirit to meet with the children of Israel in His manifestation on the earth plane. When they saw the cloud move into the most holy place in the tabernacle and later in the temple, it signified again that God in a special sense was taking up residence within that worship structure within the nation of Israel. The light that shone in the holiest of all behind the temple curtain of blue and purple and scarlet and fine twined linen, laced with threads of gold and figures of cherubim, was not the beams of the sevenfold candlestick of the holy place, nor even the radiance of the sun in the outer court. It was the glory light of God’s own divine majesty! Through time the Israelites called that glory cloud of God the shekinah. The word shekinah means “to dwell.” And since the glory cloud always signified that God was present at the place where the cloud appeared, to dwell in a special sense, they called it the shekinah or dwelling glory of God!
The truth that I would now draw to your attention is the fact that it was this same shekinah, this very same glory cloud, which the eleven disciples beheld in spell-bound astonishment on the crest of the mount of Olives that blessed day when the Lord Jesus ascended into mid-air and suddenly a bright cloud, like a chariot of God, bore Him speedily away, concealing Him from mortal gaze. “When He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight,” the record states. An accident? An illusion? A natural phenomenon? A marvelous coincidence? Not on your life! This is the equivalent of saying that the cloud which hovered over Israel in the wilderness; the cloud which rested upon the glorious tabernacle of old; the cloud which dwelt between the gleaming cherubim in the most holy place; the cloud which filled Solomon’s temple until the ministers could not minister by reason of the blazing glory; the cloud which overshadowed the virgin girl Mary when she came to be with child; the cloud which enveloped the Son of God and revealed the glory of His sonship on the mount of Transfiguration; that cloud is the very same cloud that received the Lord Jesus into its midst and out of the sight of mortal eyes! The cloud that received the firstborn Son of God out of the sight of those startled disciples certainly was no ordinary rain cloud which happened to be blown across a torturous sky. It was the blazing shekinah cloud which had always veiled the divine majesty of God from time immemorial!
Now, lest we should miss the deep mystery this unveils, I would point out that the one cloud points unerringly to the singular glory of the Head of the body of sons, even our Lord Jesus Christ. The fact that this mighty angel comes down from heaven, clothed with a cloud, reveals the truth that this cannot represent the corporate Christ, or the many-membered Son; furthermore, the work of God in the sounding of the seven trumpets is to bring the many-membered body of Christ to perfection, maturity, and the full stature of Christ; only when the seventh trumpet sounds is the mystery of God finished, the mystery of God formed, revealed, and manifest in many sons brought to glory; therefore this mighty angel cannot be the many-membered Son, but is without any doubt the Christ, the Captain of our salvation, the Forerunner who for us has entered in beyond the veil — it is HE who is bringing us to His glory! We are not there yet, my beloved, when the sixth trumpet sounds, but the indwelling Christ is performing His mighty work of bringing us on into the fullness of God!
Here I wish to point out a most significant fact of scripture which has entirely been overlooked by most Bible students and nearly all preachers and teachers. All the way through the scriptures, from the crossing of the Red Sea by the children of Israel, to the ascension of Jesus from the mount of Olives, God consistently manifested Himself in ONE GLORY CLOUD. There was always just ONE SINGLE CLOUD! The Lord Jesus ascended in one single cloud of God’s glory — the very same cloud in which He had manifested His presence to His people throughout the long ages of time!
It is when we come to the book of Revelation that we see a distinct difference! For suddenly in addition to the one cloud we are introduced to a great plurality of clouds! Let us see! Christ departed this earth in one cloud. He comes again in many clouds! It was the blessed seer of Patmos who announced: “Behold, He cometh with clouds: and every eye shall see Him” (Rev. 1:7). Daniel in vision beheld Him thus: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like a Son of man came with the clouds of heaven…and there was given unto Him dominion” (Dan. 7:13-14). Jesus Himself said, “And they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Mat. 24:30). And again, “Hereafter ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Mat. 26:64). Finally, the apostle Paul relates this dramatic experience: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds…and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thes. 4:17). In the CLOUDS! More than one cloud. Many clouds. A great company of clouds!
Why are there many clouds attending Christ’s coming, and what are these clouds? Let us not forget for one moment that we are dealing with the cloud of God’s glory, presence, and power — the shekinah! When the firstborn Son of God was in the world John said of Him, “We beheld His glory” (Jn. 1:14). Peter reveals to us what is really meant by their beholding the glory of the Son. “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory (the glory cloud), saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount” (II Pet. 1:16-18). Ah, it is clear — it was the glory of HIS manifest sonship!
How very significant that at the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry He said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also shall be one in us…and the glory which Thou gavest me (manifest sonship) I have given them…I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one…that they may be with me where I am (His relationship of sonship to the Father); that they may behold my glory which Thou hast given me” (Jn. 17:20-24). And this is the crux of the whole matter! From the dawn of creation’s light until Jesus stepped upon this planet, God manifested to His creation in a singular way His own glory. He, the eternal God, exhibited His presence in the form of one glory cloud! But as Jesus approached the cross, and the glorious events to unfold thereafter, He disclosed the grand truth that God purposed from eternity to SHARE HIS GLORY WITH A VAST COMPANY OF SONS…that glorious body which is the fullness of Him that filleth all in all!
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:18-19). “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Cor. 3:18). “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:4). “That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory” (I Thes. 2:12). “For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Heb. 2:10). “I…also am a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed” (I Pet. 5:1). “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus…make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you” (I Pet. 5:10). Oh, the wonder of it!
What, then, are those clouds with which, and in which, the Christ comes? Why, bless your heart, WE ARE! He comes with and in many clouds! There is only one other group or plurality of objects of which it is stated that Christ comes “with” them or “in” them, and that is — the SAINTS! The Holy Spirit of inspiration is very careful to tell us that He comes “with” clouds. And He also tells us that He comes “with” His saints! “To the end He may establish your hearts…at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ W-I-T-H ALL HIS SAINTS” (I Thes. 3:13). Jude says, “And Enoch also…prophesied…saying, Behold, the Lord cometh W-I-T-H TEN THOUSANDS OF SAINTS” (Jude 14). The Amplified Bible is helpful, when it reads, “Behold, the Lord comes W-I-T-H MYRIADS OF HOLY ONES.” But the interlinear reading from the Emphatic Diaglott gives the clearest of all renderings from the Greek text, “Lo, comes Lord I-N HOLY MYRIADS OF HIMSELF!” “Myriads of HIMSELF!” All of them begotten out of His life, all of them partakers of His divine nature, conformed to His image, filled with His mind, matured in His life. Myriads of Himself, of His own kind, born of His seed, a many brethren company of sons of God. The apostle Paul once expressed the truth in this way, “When He shall come to be glorified IN HIS SAINTS, and to be admired IN ALL THEM that believe in that day” (II Thes. 1:10). John the beloved sees this same scene in wonder-filled vision and speaking in prophetical language writes, “Behold, He cometh WITH CLOUDS; and every eye shall see Him.” Oh, the mystery of it!
Oh, if only I could make men see that our Lord Jesus Christ is the cloud and each son of God is putting on the cloud which He is. The beautiful type for this was given when Israel began their journey to their land of promise. The apostle Paul spoke of it in these words, “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (I Cor. 10:1-2). They were baptized in the cloud! Have you thought about that before? The cloud was the spiritual cloud of God’s presence. When that cloud came down into the most holy place the Lord said to Moses, “Come and draw near, and I will speak unto you out of the cloud.” The cloud was aspeaking cloud! The cloud was the very presence of God as a living word that brought a condition in which they were able to fulfill the plan and purpose that God had ordained for them. As the moving cloud by day and by night, it was a leading word. It was a guiding word. It was a covering word. As a pillar of fire by night it was an illuminating word. It was a quickening word. It was a transforming word. It was everything they needed to bring them into their land. And they were baptized into that cloud! They were made one in that living word of God! The cloud is a speaking cloud! It’s a cloud of His word! And now, beloved, God’s elect is being baptized into the cloud! The one cloud is becoming many clouds of the presence, glory, and power of God in the earth!
THE RAINBOW UPON HIS HEAD
“And a rainbow was upon his head” (Rev. 10:1).
The definite article employed in the Greek text of the passage above takes us back, not to the rainbow in the book of Genesis, or to the rainbow which from time to time appears in the sky, but to that in chapter four of the Revelation where we have been told, in the description of the throne of God in the heavens of the Spirit, that “there was a rainbow round about the throne, like an emerald to look upon.” The Greek text of Revelation 10:1 reads, “And the rainbow was upon His head.” “The rainbow” can only be the rainbow already mentioned by John as circling the throne of the Lord!
There is something entrancingly wonderful about a rainbow! When by the spirit of revelation we look beyond the earthly symbol with its excellent beauty, we find God and see a truth and a glory that awakens the heart to worship at His feet. Thus did Ezekiel worship, when, caught up in the ecstasies of the Spirit, he beheld a vision of God so sublime that the heart of man has never yet been able to fathom its depths nor the tongue of man to expound its meaning. “Above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw…the appearance of fire round about…and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. AND WHEN I SAW IT I FELL UPON MY FACE…” (Eze. 1:27-28). In this vision the cloud is stated to be a specific representation of the glory of the Lord!
In John’s vision the rainbow is upon the “head” of Christ, just as the rainbow was first seen by John “around the throne” — for the head pictures the same reality as the throne. Christ is the “head” of His body, but He is also “the head of all principality and power” (Col. 2:10). This signifies that the authority and dominion of the Christ has come down from God out of heaven, or out of the realm of the Spirit, bringing the rulership of the spirit of Christ, which is the spirit of sonship, to finish His work in His elect sons upon earth. The rainbow is a symbol of promise and covenant, as we read, “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth” (Gen. 9:13,16).
The rainbow signifies all the prophetic promises and covenant given to the firstfruits company that are as yet unfulfilled. By the spirit of revelation the Lord has made marvelous promises to His called and chosen elect in this great hour! By the prophetic word of the Lord in the midst of His people God has covenanted to manifest His sons in all the glory and power of the firstborn Christ! Ever since the mighty outpouring of the presence of Christ as “Latter Rain” in 1948 the spirit of the Lord has given exceeding great and precious promises to His chosen ones! All of these promises of deliverance, of perfection, of victory, of transformation, of incorruptible life and immortality, of wisdom, glory, power, and dominion as manifest sons of God — all of these promises are within the mind of Christ, and within His authority and power to perform within each of us, assuring the complete and total fulfillment of each and every promise we have received by the Spirit. Our loving, faithful elder brother remembers His covenant and its promises which He has given us, He beholds them in the rainbow upon His head, thus assuring us that it shall all be fulfilled!
HIS FEET UPON THE LAND AND THE SEA
“And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven…and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth” (Rev. 10:1-2).
What a tremendous panorama we see when this “other mighty angel” comes down from heaven and sets one foot upon the earth and the other upon the sea! This scene reveals the unlimited power of the Lord! This fact also reveals to us His ability to be ever present at any time and any place, and to deal with any situation, circumstance, or power in the works, motions, and lusts of the flesh, or in the self-will, self-assertiveness, or self-righteousness of the soul! For who is able to put his foot on the sea and on the dry land at the same time? By this He demonstrates that He is ruler of both! There is nothing in any of our lives or circumstances that He is not able to change and transform!
The ordinary act of placing the foot, becomes an extraordinary act under certain circumstances. When promising the land of Canaan to Abraham the Lord instructed him, “Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee” (Gen. 13:17). Hundreds of years later God spoke to the people of Israel through Moses, saying, “Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours…there shall no man be able to stand before you; for the Lord your God shall lay the fear of you and the dread of you upon all the land that ye shall tread upon…for ye shall pass over the Jordan to go in to possess the land…and dwell therein” (Deut. 11:24-31). Thus, when Joshua led the children of Israel into the land of Canaan, the conquest was accomplished by virtue of a previous right and claim granted by the Lord Himself. This right was acknowledged by Joshua’s obedience to the instructions of the Lord, “Every place the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given you” (Josh. 1:3). The famous “discoverers” frequently appropriated new lands and even the great Pacific for their “crowns” in this manner. The permanence of their conquest, however, depended upon the strength of their military forces to maintain their claim.
This indicates, first of all, that Christ the King who dwells in our spirit subjects all things under Him. The placing of one’s feet upon anything is symbolic of subjection and possession. In Joshua 10:24 we read that Joshua calls the chiefs of his army together and bids them place their feet upon the necks of the five kings who have tried to escape in the cave, but which cave became their prison. And then we read that Joshua pledges that Yahweh shall thus do unto all their enemies, against whom they are fighting to conquer the land. In other words, Yahweh shall subdue their enemies and put them in complete subjection!
In this sublime spectacle the right foot of Christ is set upon the sea and His left foot upon the earth. It is an all-inclusive assertion of right to possession of the symbolic land and sea! The mighty Christ within has authority to lay claim to sovereignty over all the “earth” of our soulical life and all the “sea” of our flesh and body realms! The “sea” in the book of Revelation represents man, or man in the flesh. The scripture says, “…the wicked are like the troubled sea” (Isa. 57:20). The “wicked” are not just the people out in the world living licentiously, drinking, fighting, committing adultery, lying, stealing, and murdering. The “wicked” is the old “man of sin” within each of us! And when the Bible speaks of “the dragon that is in the sea” (Isa. 27:1), it is a reference to the beastly, Adamic nature of our outer flesh man. When Christ sets His right foot upon the sea, He is symbolically setting the very fiery presence of the Lord upon the man of sin within us! The fiery dominion of the Christ life shall cleanse every member of God’s elect to establish the righteousness of Christ fully within us all. Oh, what a wonderful work is done when Christ puts His right foot into the great “sea” of our lives!
Then, Christ puts His left foot on the “earth.” Thus, in prophetic purpose, the Christ within us is placing the fiery presence of the Lord upon everything that pertains to the soul. When the Christ is raised up in our life, He who has overcome all things within Himself places His victorious feet on the territory of our reality,upon the sea of the wickedness of our flesh and upon the earth of our carnal, soulical self-hood and religiosity. When Christ is raised up within us with His right foot upon the sea and His left foot upon the earth, our whole being is brought under the rule of the spirit, into subjection to the mind, will, and nature of Christ, and the long warfare between the flesh and the spirit is finally ended. The conquest is secured! We no longer battle with the passions of the body or the emotions of the soul, for the Christ within stands astride the sea and the earth of our lives and all things become subject to the life of the spirit.
This is not some kind of behavior modification, reformation, self-effort, or performance activated by fear or commandment. Oh, no! This is not somethingwe do at all, this is the experiential victory of Christ accomplished within us! God Himself so puts His laws in our minds and writes them in our hearts until when something “pushes our buttons” the only thing that proceeds out of us is the life of God. You cannot do this, my brother, my sister, no matter how hard you try or how long you work at it. Only HE can do it! And He only does it within those who follow on to know the Lord — at the sounding of the sixth trumpet! Oh, yes, we tried to lay hold upon this victory when the first trumpet blew, and again when the second trumpet blew, and on and on in our walk in God. But did we not fail each time? Don’t work, my friend, don’t strive or struggle or labor or sweat — rather expose yourself to His glorious presence and His living word, listen for the sounding of the trumpets, until in due time His life overwhelms you triumphantly. His presence, His authority in you will descend from the heavens of your spirit and stand upon the sea and upon the earth, and you will hear a voice like thunder from behind the veil, roaring as a lion, and His mighty victory will consume you and stand up in manifestation by the power of His word!
Christ does not descend from some far-off heaven to put His feet upon the sea and the earth. Even as the sea and the earth bespeak of realities right within us, so the Christ is also within us, in the higher realm of the heaven of the spirit. He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit! Christ is in our spirit, and it is from the heaven of the realm of the spirit that He descends into the lower dimensions of our life. Even now at this very moment the divine life is at work within us, changing, transforming, bringing soul and body into harmony with the nature and power of His life. The life of Christ is not something outside ourselves. I am wearied a little because so very often believers sing songs such as “Oh Lord, Send the Power Just Now,” or “Jesus is Passing This Way,” or “Reach Out and Touch the Lord as He Passes By.” I rejoice that there are indeed those special “times of refreshing” that come from the presence of the Lord, but I can assure you, my beloved, that you will never know the glorious reality of sonship to God so long as you live in that consciousness of “times of refreshing.”
The consuming desire within my heart in this new kingdom day is that every member of God’s elect might with me become aware of the abiding presence of God. The message of life and triumph that reverberates through the yielded soul of every saint separated unto God and His high purpose in this great day is just this: It is possible for saints here and now to live with the constant and full assurance that even as the almighty Father indwelt and continually permeated the life of Jesus of Nazareth, so does the spirit of Christ, who is the mighty God and the everlasting Father, live and abide within those who have received the call to sonship. As the years have passed since I first heard the call of the Spirit unto the blessed realm of sonship to God, there has come to me an ever-increasing assurance that I am dwelling and walking in His presence, for He is not momentarily passing my way but has been impregnated into my earthen vessel as the incorruptible seed of the word of God that liveth and abideth forever!
God is not far away; He is not without; He is here within us. The idea is not that Christ is in heaven and that we can stretch out some mysterious faculty and touch Him there. That is the vague form in which many babes in Christ conceive the truth, but it is contrary to Christ’s teaching and to the analogy of nature. Vegetable life is not contained in a reservoir somewhere in the skies, and measured out spasmodically at certain seasons. Animal life is not bottled up somewhere in the blue beyond and dropped down to earth now and again when it is time for an embryo to be formed. Oh, no! The life is in every plant and tree, every animal and fish and fowl, resident within its own tissue and substance, and works there as a mighty power to form even that which is contained in the life. The life is permanently fixed and rooted in the organism, and fully capable of reproducing itself out of its own generation. Life is not one of the homeless forces that promiscuously inhabit space, or which can be gathered like electricity from the clouds and dissipated back again into space. Life is definite and resident; the spiritual life is not a visit from a force, not something sent down from above, but a resident tenet of our own spirit.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a…seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field.” Our human life is the field, Christ is the seed, and our heavenly Father is the great sower! Therefore the life of sonship is not derived from the occasional touch of Jesus as He “passes this way,” nor from some great revival or “outpouring” of the Spirit, nor yet from the weekly reviving or refreshing that comes to weary souls by gathering together in church meetings. Thank God for the fellowship and encouragement of those of “like precious faith,” but I do not hesitate to tell you that the life of sonship can only be known by the inward activity of the INDWELLING CHRIST, for truly HE IS OUR LIFE and only He can reproduce Himself within us. Every son of God is becoming more and more sensitive to the Christ within, conscious of His speaking, His teaching, His guiding, and His power continually transforming the mind and the body into the image of Him who created them. Out of the heavens of the spirit He has put His right foot upon the sea, and His left foot on the earth, possessing them for the kingdom of heaven! With my poor and puny ability I cannot make the truth of Christ’s indwelling life to be a living, transforming reality to your heart. None but the Spirit of God can perform this wonderful and divine act of illumination! He alone can take the things of God and show them unto you! Nevertheless, I can confidently assure you that, the moment the grand and glorious fact of His indwelling life grips your heart and fills your mind, the reality of His divine indwelling will immediately begin to transform your life! The knowledge of His abiding life will also begin to change your mind, quicken your emotions, transform your purpose, and renew your body as well!
As speaking in tongues and the gifts of the Spirit are the evidences of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, so the redemption of our bodies from the power of decay and death is the initial evidence of the manifestation of the sons of God! Paul by revelation makes this fact unmistakably clear when he says, “We ourselves too, who have and enjoy the first-fruits of the Spirit — a foretaste of the blissful things to come — groan inwardly as we wait for the redemption of our bodies from sensuality and the grave, WHICH WILL REVEAL our adoption (placement as sons), our manifestation as God’s sons” (Rom. 8:23, Amplified). This change in our bodies shall not come by the mighty working of Christ crashing down through the clouds over our heads, but by the divine inworking of His indwelling life! Paul by inspiration also has given us these wonderful words of consolation and understanding: “If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken (make alive, immortally) your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Rom. 8:11). Aren’t you glad!
The apostle Paul also explains that Christ “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body” (Phil. 3:21). The Amplified Bible expresses it so clearly and beautifully, “Who shall transform and fashion anew the body of our humiliation to conform to and be like the body of His glory and majesty.” This phrase, “body of our humiliation,” is a more correct rendering of the Greek. How expressive that is! I must confess that it is indeed humiliating to be found in a body like this! It is humiliating to find it necessary to chew on mints to keep the breath from offending those around us. It is humiliating to be so weary from traveling and ministering that at times it is difficult to sit up and fellowship with God’s precious saints. It is humiliating to get digestive and intestinal disturbances and require special water and diet in order to carry on. It is humiliating to be bald at twenty-four years of age and gray at thirty! It is humiliating to suffer the weaknesses and appearances of old age, to see new wrinkles and flabbiness in the skin, spider veins, emaciated muscles, paunchy middle, bags under the eyes, and all the other reminders of the earthiness, corruptibility, and mortality of these fragile bodies!